• Report: #80721

Complaint Review: Directbuy - Direct Buy - UCC Totalhome - UCC Total Home - United Consumers Club

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  • Submitted: Tue, February 17, 2004
  • Updated: Wed, April 13, 2011

  • Reported By:Mays Landing New Jersey
Directbuy - Direct Buy - UCC Totalhome - UCC Total Home - United Consumers Club
1960 Old Cuthbert Rd Cherry Hill, New Jersey United States of America

Directbuy - Direct Buy - UCC Totalhome - United Consumers Club Waste of our time, Pushy, False information, Misleading, Rude ripoff Cherry Hill New Jersey

*Consumer Comment: I love my membership

*Consumer Comment: Picket Line in front of Direct Buy

*Consumer Comment: I've been saved,,, Thank God. You can be saved too. Don't go.

*Consumer Comment: DirectBuy is a Scam!! Beware!!!

*Consumer Comment: BBB claims ...easily lured

*Consumer Comment: Links to more information - membership agreement is untenable, unenforceable, and grossly unconscionable

*Consumer Comment: I understand the feelings ... we were contacted by UCC within days of moving in

*Consumer Comment: Thank you Thank you!!!!! Your report saved my time and sanity!!

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This is my 1st report I've created on this site so I apologize in advance for any errors, misspellings or whatevers. This is a long story but worth reading if you are considering visiting Directbuy, UCC Totalhome or whatever their name is today. I do not work for any retailer, nor do I have any reason to financially gain in the demise of Directbuy. I am just a consumer who was duped into wasting 3 hours of his time so I am spending another hour writing this to make myself feel better for time wasted. This is my personal opinion of my experience at Directbuy.

My girlfriend & I attended a recent open house at the Cherry Hill Directbuy location in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. A friend of a friend mentioned Directbuy & we decided to look into it further. We made an appointment online at the Directbuy website for 2/13/04 at 7pm. We were sent a confirmation of the appointment & someone followed up the day of by phone.

We arrived at a warehouse like building & entered into a makeshift waiting area that was filled with pictorials of clients who have saved big on their purchases with Directbuy. The environment felt eerily reminiscent of the cheezy timeshare meeting we attended in Hawaii for a free Luau. The low-end looking furniture in the waiting room really did the trick.

Tricia (I believe this is her name) greeted us after she was done with another couple ahead of us. She is the owner of the Cherry Hill franchise & her son Kevin is the sales guy who called us & confirmed. We were assigned a sales person, Lou, who was a mix of Gomer Pyle, Mr. Furley of Three's Company & Warren from Something About Mary. Lou, in his Warren-like fashion gave us the lowdown on how we could save huge amounts of money with Directbuy/Totalhome. We filled in a sheet estimating how much we planned to spend in the next 3 years on certain items. Lou advised us he would review the data with the boss (Tricia) to see if we qualified to stay & see the rest of the sales presentation.

d**n, I wish we didn't qualify! We were congratulated for qualifying & thrown into a room with a few other couples/families/suckers & led through a 2 hour presentation by the owner (Tricia, or whatever or Satan given name was). We were shown videos with the corporate UCC bigwigs & some hotshot from CNN news telling us the same info over & over again you'll save bigtimekeep it a secretretailers don't want you to know what we have to offerblah..blah..blah. What the heck do they know? They make millions & they're preaching to me on saving money when they probably spend $70,000+ on a car. Well, the group needed a burst of energy, & we got it; Tricia gently explained the $3500 three-year membership fee & $100+ for the next 7 years. I thought one guy was gonna get up & choke her after that or at least I was hoping he would.

Tricia led us back to our sales reps. We sat down with Gomer again & we explained we were not convinced since we had to sign up now or we could never return again. I explained that we did not have a good frame of reference to see the savings they were offering. Man, it was like I slapped Lou across the face when I said this. How could I not see the great opportunity that they were offering us? I explained that we have recently bought a home but have not shopped for furniture. They showed/told us examples all night long that prove in their minds they offer huge discounts compared to retail stores. Our problem was, you can tell us a table & chairs retail for $5000 in stores & UCC sells it for $2000, but if we don't like the table & chairs & we haven't even seen them retail for that much with our own eyes, then we have no frame of reference. We also thought the stuff they showed us that had deep discounts was crap. We not only would not pay $5000 for it, but we wouldn't pay the $2000 UCC is selling it for. We weren't even sure if we would take it for free considering we would have to move the crap into our house.

We went over this point a few times & Mr. Furly reluctantly searched for some catalogs that we requested to see. We had 3 items we knew the prices of & if they could show us the huge savings than we might say yes to a membership. I bought a $2200 Natuzzi leather reclining sofa & swivel/rocker/recliner chair from Raymour & Flanigan 2 years ago. We were looking to buy a Hitachi 51 inch HDTV monitor from Sears scratch & dent for $1400 that retails at Circuit City for $1800. We also looked at a table set that sells for $1000 at Bassett. Gomer came back empty handed on the Natuzzi catalog because they dropped them as a manufacturer because of slow deliveries & reduction in product quality. While he stumbled around looking for the other two, my girlfriend looked in the Fugi catalog & looked up her recently purchased camera. She paid $220 for it & UCC is selling it for $250, not including the add on fees. Franks&Beans man came back with the other two catalogs. UCC is selling the Hitachi tv for $1900, not including add on fees. As for the Bassett tables, a similar table set at UCC sells for $600, not including add on fees.

We had seen enough. Of the $8,000 we were planning on spending over the next 3 years, not including wish list items, about $4000 of this would go towards furniture, drapes, cabinets & lighting, a.k.a. the deep discounted items that Directbuy advertises. Well we did the math & it wouldn't work for us.

Franks&beans tried to convince us to see what we were missing but there was nothing he could say in his incoherent, babbling manner that could make us change our mind.

On our way out we felt we should let Tricia know a few things that were on our mind now that we felt we were duped into wasting 3 hours of our time. I explained to Tricia it would have been nice if Kevin, who confirmed our appt over the phone, would have prepared us for what we were getting ourselves into.

Maybe tell us to go furniture shopping to get names & prices so we could see the savings. Maybe go look at cabinets, rugs & window treatments to see the huge savings that retailers don't want us to know about. Tricia proceeded to insult us for our lack of intelligence for not being able to see the great offer we were passing up. I proceeded to explain to her that the mattress she bought for $700 that retailed for $2000 is a bad example to use on us. I paid $300 for a queen size Serta pillow top at BJ's wholesale club like millions of others can do. She told us to talk to her in a year when the mattress falls apart. She spoke to soon, I actually have been using my $300 mattress everyday now for 4 years & it is in great shape. We left after about a 10 minute argument which was even a bigger waste of our time. We were hungry & had now wasted 3 & hours on what turned out to be worse than the timeshare offer we suffered through in Hawaii. Tricia's closing comments as we walked out were Good luck paying higher prices. I thought to myself, I just saved $4500 by saying no to your half-assed company.

Here are my points that went unanswered, or went without what we felt was an intelligent answer: 1.) $700 sounds like a bargain to some, but what average Joe would even consider buying a $2000 mattress? What does this mattress do? Does it massage you & feed you grapes before bed? Just because you save $1300 off of what the manufacturer say it is worth, does it mean the item is worth $700? If this rational precludes value, then I have this whole consumer thing all wrong. Value is in the eye of the beholder, or so I thought.

2.) When did Natuzzi leather drop in quality? I thought Natuzzi is one of the better leather furniture manufacturers. If they did drop in quality, does that mean Natuzzi sells lower quality furniture than Ashley furniture? Because Ashley was the most advertised Furniture Company that Directbuy was toting the night of the open house. It was also the furniture that was used to decorate the paper waiting room at Directbuy in Cherry Hill. I think Ashley furniture is one of the worst furniture companies in the biz, looks like bad craftsmanship & low quality materials like Styrofoam & particle board. My mistake! You can feel safe that Directbuy is protecting you as a member from companies like Natuzzi, Pottery Barn, Bombay Co., Pergo, & other companies that they don't do business with.

3.) When did it become ok to stereotype woman & men openly as a corporate sales approach. We were told that woman have love affairs with furniture when they buy it. Men like electronics & gadgets and don't see the value in Directbuy as easy as women do. I was told on more than one occasion, that my questions & hesitance were common for men but women know better. Does this mean men are stupid because we don't see the value or men are stupid because they don't agree with their female owner? I'm confused. What does sex have to do with sales & why did my girlfriend & I feel like we were categorized & labeled just like their UCC catalogs?

4.) If UCC does not provide great savings on items other than furniture than why did we qualify when half our three year buysheet showed that we are heavy electronics buyers. How can a couple who is buying $4000 worth of furniture over the next 3 years save enough to recoup the $3600 3 year membership fees? I'm confused? Does Directbuy know something I don't know because my calculator must be confused as well. We would estimate a savings of $200 on the table set after the add on fees that they could not give us a good estimate on. If we buy a sofa & loveseat & a dining set with the remaining $3000 we were planning on spending retail, how could we save $3600? Not to mention the TV we want is $500 more than what we can get it for at sears, minimum $100 less at circuit city. What about the camera? They not only don't offer discounts on electronics, they are more expensive than the major electronic chains that give you the item that day or in a matter of a few days. Why would I pay more so I can't wait longer as well as handle delivery for & not be able to return if there is a problem. Hmmm?

5.) Directbuy also claims they offer a huge selection of items that retailers don't offer their customers which also is a good reason to join. Ok, so online ordering, retail stores & speciality stores don't give us enough items to look through so I need to spend $3600 for the ability to see the full catalog. By the way, Directbuy doesn't offer a catalog for every manufacturer. So a big bonus as a member is that you get to see the remaining stuff that retailers don't think is good enough to put on their floors for the limited # of retailers that UCC does business with. Hmmm?

6.) Directbuy also claims huge savings on Jewelry as well. If you buy Jewelry from the mall than I agree, they may be able to offer good savings. But if you are buying major ticket items like diamonds, buyer beware. You get what you pay for when it comes to Jewelry & there are no returns when you buy straight from the manufacturer. You want GIA certification? Appraisal services & the like? Good luck. Good luck getting UCC stuff insured from your homeowners insurance as well.

7.) Is there really a pre-qualification before you can see the big sales pitch? Has anyone ever been kicked out before seeing the big sales pitch. Are they really looking out for those of us that the program doesn't work out for?

8.) Tricia told the group before her presentation that questions must be held or written down until after we get back to our sales reps. Her reasoning is that just because you have a question, doesn't mean the person sitting next to you has the same question. Why should he/she be held up any longer than they have to just because you have a question. Granted, no pencils or paper were offered so we could keep track of questions. Moreover, what is the point of FAQ's in almost every corner of business & industry if people usually don't have the same questions? My thought is, if we would have all brought up all of our questions in front of each other they would have had a difficult time selling anything.

9.) They say they have been in business for 33 years. They say their success is obvious because they have been in business so long. They must be saving people money if they have been in business so long. They must be doing people a service since they have lasted so long. Has anyone ever heard of Enron? I bet there are plenty of companies that lasted longer that were doing a disservice to consumers. I bet you can make more money & last longer by stealing & false advertising & having good attorney's than you can by selling an honest product & offering a real money back guarantee.

The bottom line is the Cherry Hill, NJ operation is shady & has some questionable sales tactics. They didn't have intelligent answers to our questions & they could not prove that we could save money on the products we like to buy yet they feel we were making a mistake. I would also say they may be bordering on racial & sexually profiling as well as discrimination based on age, sex & race.

I am not a consumer who buys anything just because I think I'm getting a good price, so Directbuy is not for me. I feel I am a preety smart consumer & can wait a few months for a good deal & can take the time to research any major purchase, so Directbuy is not the option for me. I don't need to spend large sums of money to save money. I can save $4500+ and just do my homework. That way I just saved $4500 with one decision.

Buyer beware!

Andrew Mays Landing, New Jersey
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/17/2004 02:03 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Directbuy-Direct-Buy-UCC-Totalhome-UCC-Total-Home-United-Consumers-Club/Cherry-Hill-New-Jersey/Directbuy-Direct-Buy-UCC-Totalhome-United-Consumers-Club-Waste-of-our-time-Pushy-F-80721. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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#1 Consumer Comment

I love my membership

AUTHOR: Melissa - (U.S.A.)

I've saved so much using Direct Buy to renovate my new home. Suggested them to a friend and her and her husband have saved also. I've been a member for almost 2 years, her for 1. We both have saved more than the initial membership fee.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Picket Line in front of Direct Buy

AUTHOR: Deborah - (U.S.A.)

I recently had a bad experience with Direct Buy. When I contacted the franchise to request that my membership be cancelled, I was told the membership could not be cancelled. I told them I would picket their business location. They decided to cancel my membership.
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#3 Consumer Comment

I've been saved,,, Thank God. You can be saved too. Don't go.

AUTHOR: Tom - (U.S.A.)

I have been saved...........saved in the matter of keeping $3500 buckerooo's in my pocket. I just have returned from attending a presentation of Direct Buy.

I am one of those suckerd' people who just closed on a new purchase of a home and just moved in 6 days ago and ready to get a new dining room set,a new living set, a new projection TV for my ultimate bachelor pad and new carpet for the old condo i was selling. I saw there Infomercial on TV late one night and I had nothing better to do but to bite the hook, take the bait and dial Direct Buy.

After the typical telemarketing approach of confirmation, literature to read coming and the last minute call to make sure my a*s is there, I went. I thought the entrance was kinda yuckee, with some cheap furniture in the dis-organized showroom, and lot's of bindered books on the walls like a library. Very impressive, NOT. What a high pressure sales presentation, and telling you if you don't don't buy tonite, your toast. You can never buy the program again.I am SAVED, my deal is, I have $3500.00 to spend somewhere else. You can be saved too. Don't go.
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#4 Consumer Comment

DirectBuy is a Scam!! Beware!!!

AUTHOR: Tara - (U.S.A.)

Today my husband and I visited the location in Nassau County New York. The salesman refused to tell us the membership price before we watched the video. He then snatched the cheap catalog off the table that he had given us. I had set it down in front of me when we sat down. I had already had the opportunity to look at the claimed savings. There are no savings!
We left without even finding out the membership fees. After researching the company tonight I am happy that I didn't stick around!
I believe that these people weed away the strong and independent so that they can sway the weak. They tried to usher us out so as to not make a scene. The are extremely rude, and think they are clever. I also find it infuriating that the company goes online to refute honest responses written from experiences.
Something must be done to stop this scam! Right from the beginning with the online appointment I felt it was a scam. The way they order you in an almost cultish fashion of their expectations. They order that both spouses MUST be present, and other MUSTS!
You must ask, WHY is asking what the membership fee such a taboo! You must first sit through a video that aims to brainwash the weak.
STOP THE SCAM!!!!!!!!!! Isn't This illegal? Well it should be!!!!! DON"T BELIEVE THE RESPONSES THAT THIS COMPANY IS GREAT! THEY WERE WRITTEN BY BESTBUY REPRESENTATIVES/OWNERS. GOOD LUCK
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#5 Consumer Comment

BBB claims ...easily lured

AUTHOR: Crystal - (Canada)

Hello to all the smart buyers that are doing thier research before they fall into a shady companys trap.
My spouse and I just came back from DirectBuys open house and I can see how easily people would fall for thier lies. They sound good, they look good. I was been sweet talked by the sales lady at directbuy, lost in her words of promises of all the great big savings when she gave an example of how kitchen cabinets from any old retailer would cost me 16 to 20 thousand dollars and BAM just like that I snapped out of the hypnotic stage of looking for a deal. "wohhh.."I said. You see I was looking to buy cabinets and have been researching them for a while, I found the best deal at Rona for an 8 by 10 T style kitchen $2500. I told her this immedietly and she looked at me like I was a fool and tried to convince me that I was wrong and I must have been mistaken. (like I was born yesterday)
Also while we were been showed around thier cheesy cheap floor displays she made a point to say "Matthew" (my spouse) "look at this great flooring!" and "Crystal" (me) look at this great fabric, you can bring the binders home and match it to your preference. Right then I felt insulted. Little did she know I am the handy woman of the house. I take care of the car, pick out flooring, install flooring, plan reno's and fix whatever I know how to in the home, not pick out pretty colors for the drapes and couches.
The sales lady happilly informed us we would save our membership fee just in buying some drapery. The drapery and window coverings I chose
were 2000 dollars, I dont know what kind of blinds she was going to sell me mayber if they were lined with gold....
Anyone with common sense would see that a pressured deal of having to make a choice of spending four thousand dollars in a matter of an hour and a half, without being able to compare prices, without a day or two to think about and with no turning back when all is said and done is WRONG. Its not a choice of buying a donut from timmys even at timmys they give you a lifetime of deciding what you want and when you want it and if you dont like it you can take it back... for any reason, Its FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS non refundable at that. A good respectible company would be proud of its name, not changing it every once a while when the BBB claims get to large or the news reports to damaging. If you are about to make a four thousand dollar decision, do one simple thing research it your self ! phone BBB or better yet go there your self with comparable prices and questions about thier contract like the warranty(they told us its a full warranty) tell them you would like to fully read the contract before handing over the money. see what they say......
If they were sucha great company they would have such a huge customer basis there would be no need to charge a membership fee of 4000!!!!
GoodLuck and shopsmart not spontaneous!!!!!
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#6 Consumer Comment

Links to more information - membership agreement is untenable, unenforceable, and grossly unconscionable

AUTHOR: Iva - (U.S.A.)

Directbuy is a scam that use to go by the name UCC Totalhome. Before that they were known as United Consumers Club. They are trying to get consumers to buy a non-refundable, non-cancellable "membership" contract costing $3000 or more, payable in advance. You are led into this trap by thinking that by paying $3000 (or more) membership fee (in advance) that you will get better prices - that you will be able to buy at "cost." But there are no guarantees.

The National Post news article got it right when they reported:

"Another fine print stipulation stated: "No oral promises or statements not contained in this agreement shall bind or obligate the club."

News Net 5's expose on what was then UCC Totalhome (now DirectBuy) found out:

"But UCC's contract states: "No oral promises or statements not contained in this membership agreement are binding."

There are no guarantees that you will be buying at "cost" and that there are no guarantees of savings whatsoever. Since the "membership" fee is non-refundable and non-cancellable, should you not realize any savings, oh well, too bad - no refunds!

Buyer beware this scam!

Here are some links to more information about them-

http://www.nationalpost.com/financialpost/story.html?id=19E244B1-7DD0-45A2-B66D-7883F94E1DB4

http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/services/ucc/

http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/video/programs%5f2001%5f02/ucc%5fqt%5f020306.html


http://www.newsnet5.com/news/335540/detail.html

http://www.wbz4.com/lyons/local%5fstory%5f063165203.html

http://www.startribune.com/stories/1229/4780642.html


http://formeraboutguides.com/investingcanada/library/weekly/1999a/aa062399.htm

http://formeraboutguides.com/investingcanada/library/weekly/1999b/aa110499.htm

http://formeraboutguides.com/investingcanada/library/weekly/2000b/aa122100a.htm

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.

A NY court found the membership contract "grossly unconscionable" and that "Club membership is nothing more than a cleverly disguised method of selling nothing but hopes and dreams."

http://www.mlmlaw.com/library/cases/mlm/state/nyniemiec.htm

A Canadian court found the membership agreement untenable and unenforcable because it violated the Consumer Protection Act, the Sales of Goods Act, and The Trade Practice Act. Read this at at paragraphs 13-20 of the ruling.

http://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/judgments/pc/2002/01/p02%5F0197.htm

Paragraph 8 is where they said they aren't required to give any service after the sale. Yes, see for yourself they used it in court to try to save themselves.

http://www.sconet.state.oh.us./rod/documents/2/2002/2002-ohio-3806.doc

UCC blames the member for the delay in receiving merchandise for over 4 months! Read it for yourself at paragraph number 33!

http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/documents/2/2004/2004-ohio-2426.doc

Lawsuit shows lack of moral and ethical conduct by UCC/TH/DB franchisee Darryn Fossand.

http://www.lawlibrary.state.mn.us/archive/ctapun/0405/opa031376-0511.htm

BEWARE:

The contract specifically states:

There are no merchandise returns.
There are no refunds if not satisfied.
Merchandise is sold without warranty.
There is no after sale support or service.

DIRECTBUY FYI:

http://free.hostdepartment.com/d/directbuyinfo/

MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT - READ IT BEFORE YOU GO IN FOR THE PRESENTATION:

http://free.hostdepartment.com/d/directbuyinfo/MembershipAgreement.htm
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#7 Consumer Comment

I understand the feelings ... we were contacted by UCC within days of moving in

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

When we bought our home in Chicago, we were contacted by UCC within days of moving in. They were secretive but courteous, and we scheduled an appointment (more out of curiosity than anything else). We went, waited to see if we "qualified" and (when we were told we DID qualify) sat through a long, relatively uninformative meeting with the owner.

Afterwards we sat down with a sales rep who explained the "membership" fee (yikes!) and what you get for it. We were MOST DEFINITELY skeptical, but after doing some comparatives on furniture we had been looking at, and knowing that we in the market to furnish an ENTIRE home, we went for it.

We had MAJOR buyers remorse afterwards. We felt like we had spent money foolishly, and what the hell were we gonna get out of this membership.
Well, some time went by and we remembered to USE our UCC membership (as there are TONS of things that you can get from them-clothes, healthcare products, flooring, cabinets) and found that we have in fact saved a great deal of money over retail. NOT Suggested retail, but true retail. I think it depends on what you are looking to buy, and how many things you are looking for. We needed a whole home full of things (as we had sold everything from our last home and were starting from scratch), not just a few pieces. We were told that electronics is a cutthroat market and that we wouldn't be saving tons (if anything) on those items.

We have purchased over $15,000 (real retail, not suggested) worth of items for less than $9,000. So that, combined with the $3600 membership fee mean s that we still saved $2,400. If that's not good enough for anyone, go buy your products from Sears and give them the extra $2,400! Or give it to me if it's not important enough of a savings! :-)

I don't mean to be flippant, I am merely saying that it is NOT for everyone, and clearly some consumers are going to benefit from it compared to others. I am sorry for anyone who has had a bad experience. I know the feeling. We were feeling TRULY ripped-off. Then we decided to USE the service, instead of complain about it. We are now on our fourth year with UCC, and are planning on purchasing a new sofa very soon. Just got a great washer/dryer combo for about $600 less than we've seen out in the stores.
Just wanted to offer my 2 cents.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Thank you Thank you!!!!! Your report saved my time and sanity!!

AUTHOR: Tracy - (U.S.A.)

I have been seeing infomercials for DirectBuy and was considering it. We just bought a house and we are starting to remodel it and buy new furniture.
Your report saved my time and sanity!!!!!!

I love this site, I can check on companies that I am thinking of spending money with and see if anyone has had any problems with them.

Thanks again!
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